State cabinet passes ordinance to repeal Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021

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The Meghalaya government has officially taken down the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021 by passing an ordinance on Wednesday. Last month, the Taxation Minister James Sangma had revealed that a draft ordinance to repeal the statute was being prepared.

In an effort to boost tourism, Meghalaya passed the contentious legislation last year. But it quickly encountered fierce opposition, forcing the administration to make an announcement about its termination.

The main protests were seen from the Joint Action Committee Against Casino (JACAC) and the Khasi Jaintia Christian Leaders Forum (KJCLF). The state government eventually caved in and passed an ordinance earlier this week to repeal the statute, formalizing the choice made last month due to protests.

The state government decided to repeal the law last month in response to the intense protests and agitations over licenses. As a result, it was decided at a high-level state cabinet meeting on November 9 that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021 would be repealed.

The decision to repeal the statute was taken after a meeting with church leaders. The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) said it could have a negative impact on the upcoming 2023 polls. Sangma reassured that the government will always listen to people first.

The casinos set up through the statute were expected to lead to more tourist inflow. Though the repeal of the statute is a step back in that direction, two major hospitality firms recently revealed plans to build five-star hotels in Shillong’s capital city as part of the growth of the tourism industry.

These will be the first five-star accommodations offered in Meghalaya. Not only will they promote increased tourism, but also offer several opportunities for job creation, particularly in the hospitality industry.

After the ban on casinos these five-star hotels are to become the flagbearers of the tourism industry in order to retain and increase the inflow of tourists and revenue generated from it.